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Pesach -  A musically rich festival 

03/12/2023 03:39:01 PM


     While most people will look forward to the food of Passover:  the matzah ball soup, the brisket and the desserts, I look forward and backward to the music. I say "backward" because Pesach is filled with memories of seders past, especially those of my childhood. My husband has little patience for my insistence on singing every stanza of the long songs that end the seder. And, it is true that my father too preferred to just get through the seder and treated every attempt by my mother, myself and my siblings to sing as obstructions to his progress.  He would sit back in his seat in a show of resignation and just wait for us to finish singing. After all, he was outnumbered and out-voiced. 

     While my father did not have much musical ability, he was able to vaguely sing a melody. He had a unique way of intoning the text of the Haggadah. My father's siblings were all equally musically challenged, but they all agreed that the intonation was the same as what my Grandfather would sing. I am sure many of you as well remember a grandfather or uncle who would not read, but intone the Haggadah text. Of course, much of this has been lost since most people have been abbreviating the seder and reading most of it in English to make it more accessible to children and guests less familiar with the seder. Many years ago,  wrote a passover song utilizing one of the rhythmic and melodic motifs I grew up hearing from my father as he recited the haggadah. I hope to share that in the coming weeks. 

     Meanwhile, I plan to share Passover melodies in the few weeks preceding Passover. Today I will start with the end of the seder... Why the end? Why not? A year ago, sometime in March I visited Adath Shalom as I auditioned for the position I now serve. I taught the children the English version of the song Chad Gadya that ends the seder. I was surprised that this most popular song was unknown to the students. So, it is with that song I will start: I will share the classic Moyshe Oysher version as well as a modern English version by Jack Black. (You will have to return to this article after you listen to the first link so you can find the second link.) Happy listening! Moyshe Oysher Chad Gadyo  And here is the Jack Black Chad Gadya.


Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784